NASCAR’s 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series season is four races old and no one except Kevin Harvick has won a race in the series since Feb. 19.
Austin Dillon’s Daytona 500 victory hasn’t faded from memory but three consecutive victories by Harvick have kept the Stewart-Haas Racing driver’s name in the headlines.
Well, that and a bit of an issue in Las Vegas that cost Harvick and his team a few points and a few bucks.
Back-to-back wins in the series aren’t common and to win three in a row is an impressive feat. Harvick will go for a fourth when the series heads to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., this weekend.
Eleven drivers have won four straight – several of them are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a few others will be soon enough.
Bobby Allison once won five in a row, it happened in 1971, and so did Richard Petty. Of course, Petty didn’t stop at five. The “Randleman Rocket” won 10 straight in 1967 and like most things that Petty accomplished during his racing career, that streak remains a series record.
Trot out your usual complaints – the fields were smaller back then, the competition not as fierce – but the fact remains Petty won 10 in a row. Against fields large and small. And during a season that consisted of 49 races.
Buddy Baker ended Petty’s streak that fall with a win at Charlotte. It was Baker’s first victory in the series.
• Putting all four of its cars in the top 10 at Phoenix (ISM Raceway) was a first for SHR. The organization has fielded four full-time teams since 2014. This year’s lineup consists of Harvick, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola.
It now boasts 42 wins in NASCAR’s top series, putting it between DiGard Racing/Nord Krauskopf and NASCAR Hall of Fame owner Cotton Owens on the overall list. Among active organizations, SHR is presently eighth in victories.
What was previously a winless Haas CNC Racing outfit has certainly come a long way in a relatively short period of time – SHR is celebrating its 10th year this season.
• Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing are surprisingly winless (of course so are a lot of other folks at this point) but the Toyota bunch have been in contention. All four JGR drivers – Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones – also finished in the top 10 this past weekend. Martin Truex Jr., the defending series champ, logged a fifth-place result with FRR. If they aren’t standing on the doorstep to victory lane, they’re at least pulling in the driveway.
• Over in the Chevrolet camp, the work around the new Camaro ZL1 continues. In this year’s three non-restricted races, Chevy teams have combined to claim just four out of a possible 30 finishing positions inside the top 10.
• Four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America tonight (March 13) in Daytona Beach, Fla. Gordon is third on NASCAR’s all-time win list with 93 victories. He retired from full-time competition after the 2015 season and currently works as an analyst for FOX during its NASCAR broadcasts. Earlier this month, Gordon was announced as one of 20 nominees to be considered for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2019 class.